The Value of Polish 02.2016

Defining standards

During the last few years I spent working at interactive agencies, I started paying closer attention to how the way we work impacts the quality of our outcomes.
In the conversations with my teammates, we often used the word polish to describe a set of standards we upheld our work to.
During those conversations, I realized that we always assumed that we all had the same understanding of what polish meant to us, but that we never had an opportunity to pin-point its qualities.

What is polish?

Polish represents the measure of quality and attention to detail that is not explicitly requested by the client or your supervisor. It is the sum of a number of design and development aspects that enhance the viewer's experience of the artifact.
Polish reflects the creator's personality and pride in their work and can be quiet and precise or bold and exuberant. For good practitioners of any discipline, polish is synonymous with their craft and a direct measure of their values. Achieving polish is not a separate phase at the end of a project but an essential component of the project itself. To ensure polish, designers and developers need to prioritize quality over time and adopt good habits.

While time constraints can be challenging, there are frameworks and processes which can enable makers to accomplish a significant amount of work in a short time. Optimizing for speed over repetitive work frees up time to focus on creating moments of delight, experimenting, and iterating solutions. Experience will also serve as a guide to assign priorities and solve problems quickly, allowing to focus on satisfactory work, because possibly what one feels when they see a beautiful piece of work is just the same joy of the person who has created it.


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